Parliamentary inquiry to investigate “Australia tax”

By Brenna Hillier, Monday, 30 April 2012 01:15 GMT

Australian Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy has kicked off a parliamentary inquiry into international pricing discrepancies on downloaded content, software, and technology.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports several notable technology vendors, including Apple and Microsoft, will be invited to participate in the inquiry.

Historically, Australians have paid more than British, European and US consumers for both software and hardware, even allowing for currency conversions, in a situation colloquially known as “the Australia tax”.

Growing awareness of international pricing, the rise of digital distribution and grey imports, and the steadiness of the local dollar has given rise to growing dissatisfaction with inflated prices.

Consumer advocate group Choice has strongly backed an investigation into the Australia Tax, as has Sydney MP Ed Husic.

“People here scratch their heads trying to work out why they get fleeced on software downloads,” Husic said.

The politician noted that it’s not just luxury consumer goods like games and music which raise concerns.

“Small to medium-sized businesses might pay over $10,000 more on software compared to overseas counterparts.”

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